Friday, February 24, 2012

Check and Double Check!

Cute little cartoon of a hospital isn't it?  But actually there is NOTHING cute about a hospital or a hospital visit.

An acquaintance of mine just got out of the hospital yesterday after an emergency surgery.
Thing is, she had gone to the emergency room at a local hospital the week BEFORE and was told she had high blood pressure, for which she was treated and sent home.  Now, that sounds okay until you find out the lady had presented in the Emergency Room with SEVERE abdominal pain.  She was not treated for the abdominal pain and was sent home with medication only for the blood pressure.  One week later, while driving home this lady again developed severe abdominal pain.  She was actually doubled over in pain and managed to make it to her home where she called her daughter to return her to the ER. 

Upon arrival at the ER this time, it was found that she had a ruptured stomach ulcer requiring immediate and emergency surgery!  Now, you and I both know that ulcer was there the week before and was totally ignored.  Number one, even though the patient had an elevated blood pressure, there was a cause for that elevated pressure.  Severe pain can cause anyone's blood pressure to rise severely and suddenly. 

The following is a quote from MEDSCAPE NEWS TODAY 
We are living in the Decade of Pain Control and Research, as officially designated by Congress in January 2001. There was no new legislation or funding attached to this designation, unfortunately, but it may, at least, raise awareness of the issue. Pain is a phenomenon that we all experience to a greater or lesser extent, and the associations between pain and blood pressure are potentially of great interest but poorly understood.

 Ignoring the CAUSE of my friend's acute abdominal pain, and only treating her for increased blood pressure nearly cost her life. 

I say all of this friends, to urge you to be unwilling to accept a vague diagnosis when you are seen in any emergency room.  If you have severe abdominal pain it could be caused by anything from an intestinal blockage, food poisoning or just severe gas pains, to an acute and life-threatening situation such as a ruptured ulcer or a dissecting aneurysm. 

Please don't be afraid to push or ask questions.  Don't be scared to look for a definitive answer.  So many times individuals are intimidated because the "doctor" has so much more education than they do.  But listen one knows your body the way you do!  Don't let someone else tell you what you are feeling or that it is "just" a stomach virus.  Testing costs money, but testing saves lives.  Push for that x-ray or blood test or CAT could save the life of you, your friend or your child!

You can also do your own research on line.  The internet is a great source of information on many medical issues and can prompt you to ask the right questions and provide the right information so that the physician will look in the proper direction and discover the proper diagnosis.

Be knowledgeable about the medications you are taking and NEVER take a new medication without fully understanding what it is for and the possible side effects it may have.  Take your medications with you when you go to the ER so that the physician can be aware of any possible problems associated with those medications, or interactions which could occur should he provide a new medication for you.

Know your body.  Provide a complete history of any problem you may have had in the past and a complete health history.  Don't leave anything out!  It could cost you your life.

God Bless - Peace, Love and Joy

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